What does progress in the Central Corridor look like?

Public officials and urban wonks agree light-rail will have benefits that go way beyond moving people.

Economic development, vibrant businesses, and new affordable housing are among the desired outcomes of the planned Central Corridor line connecting St. Paul to Minneapolis. And now there’s a new metric to assess progress made on such goals.

With help from Wilder Research, the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative today released a so-called “tracker” that will measure the impact of the new transit line. It includes 13 indicators, such as residents’ accessibility to shopping as well as new construction jobs for women and minorities.

The report provides where the corridor stands today on these indicators, and it will be updated annually.

One of the stated goals of the funders collaborative is “effective coordination and collaboration,” particularly when it comes to supporting existing businesses along the line.

Today is a big day for small businesses in the corridor for another reason: Light-rail planners are taking public testimony regarding the potential loss of business during construction. The planners recently concluded businesses would likely experience zero to 2.5 percent drop in revenues as part of their supplemental environmental assessment. Business groups say they plan to contest that finding — and provide affidavits.

You can still catch the second hearing at 6 p.m. at Goodwill/Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Ave. N. in St. Paul. These comments will be entered into the public record.

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